Tuesday, August 21, 2012


One of the main areas I need to assess the first week of school is how well my sixth graders understand fractions, decimals, and percent. I know my students will be all over the board in this area and so I think I'll play a game of RACKO with them. Here's how it works:

  • I'll divide the class into two teams.  
  • We'll shuffle the cards and then deal out 8 cards to each team. As I deal them, I'll place them in the order their drawn on the rack (hence the name RACKO) on the board. 
  • A student from the first team draws a card and can either discard it or replace one of the cards in his/her team's row.( The goal is to be the first team to get all their cards in order.)
  • Now, the second team has a turn. It goes back and forth until one team gets their cards in order.
While the class is playing, I'll be listening to the conversations in the teams. Who seems to have a grasp of the equivalencies? Who doesn't seem to have a clue? Who always seems to consistently offer the correct suggestion? Who remains quiet? Who can replace a card correctly by themselves? Who needs help from the team?

We'll play this a couple of times and then - another day - I'll put students into smaller teams to compete - maybe two person teams and then, eventually, one person playing another. If you plan on doing this, copy each set of cards in a different color; that way, clean up is easy!

The beauty of this game is that it can be adapted quite easily. You can:
  1. Make a set of all fraction cards if you are working on ordering fractions or on common denominators.
  2. Make a set of square root cards mixed with whole numbers or even numbers with decimals.
  3. Make a set of integer cards, mixing positive and negative numbers.
  4. Make a set of decimal cards. This will really help pull out misconceptions about place value and decimals.
The possibilities are endless. The students love this game and it's one of the best ways I've found to pull out misconceptions and examine them as a class. I love any game or activity that can do that; it is difficult to affect change at a deep level until both the students and I understand what misconceptions are held about the concept we're learning.


  1. I LOVE this, Angie! Printed out the cards already. I just need to figure out how to call on kids or let them volunteer if just 2 teams. With a class of 36, one team of 18 kids is a lot... I might do same way I do jeopardy (2 teams) by pairing Maggie from Team 1 with Johnny from Team 2 (just based on their seat arrangements); but either member can ask for help after they give it a shot. Something like that. Thank you!!

  2. I'm glad you like this! When I've used it in the past, my students loved it and I liked it because it became very apparent very quickly what misconceptions or misunderstanding my students had. 36 students is a lot of kids! I like your idea of having pairs of students come up. I'll try that! I'm working on some new sets of cards. Once I'm finished, I'll send them to you. :)

  3. Hey thanks for this...when I get back from my vacation I'll probably be using this *:)

  4. great idea. i agree that drawing out misconceptions can be tricky and usually we don't 'allow' them the flexibility to manifest it.

    I love relay games like this where they all get a chance to contribute individually and work as a team.

    I'm really looking forward to more blog posts Angie!